Peter Saville (born 9 October 1955) is an English art director and graphic designer. During the 1980s, he designed many record sleeves forFactory Records.

Peter Saville was born in Manchester.

Saville attended St Ambrose College. He studied graphic design at Manchester Polytechnic (later Manchester Metropolitan University) from 1975 to 1978.

Saville entered the music scene after meeting Tony Wilson, the journalist and television presenter, whom he approached at a Patti Smith show in 1978. This resulted in Wilson’s commissioning the first Factory Records poster (FAC 1). Saville became a partner of Factory Records along with Martin Hannett, Wilson, Rob Gretton and Alan Erasmus.

Peter Saville designed many record sleeves for Factory Records artists, most notably for Joy Division and New Order.

Influenced by fellow student Malcolm Garrett, who had begun designing for the Manchester punk group, the Buzzcocks, and by Herbert Spencer’s Pioneers of Modern Typography, Saville was inspired by Jan Tschichold, chief propagandist for the New Typography. According to Saville: “Malcolm had a copy of Herbert Spencer’s Pioneers of Modern Typography. The one chapter that he hadn’t reinterpreted in his own work was the cool, disciplined “New Typography” of Tschichold and its subtlety appealed to me. I found a parallel in it for the New Wave that was evolving out of Punk.”

Saville’s album design for Joy Division’s last album, Closer, released shortly after Ian Curtis’ suicide in May 1980, was controversial[4] in its depiction of Christ’s body entombed. However, the design pre-dated Curtis’ death, a fact which rock magazine New Musical Express was able to confirm, since it had been displaying proofs of the artwork on its walls for several months.[4]

Saville’s output from this period included reappropriation from art and design. Design critic Alice Twemlow wrote: “…in the 1980s… he would directly and irreverently “lift” an image from one genre—art history for example—and recontextualize it in another. A Fantin-Latour “Roses” painting in combination with a colour-coded alphabet became the seminal album cover for New Order’s Power, Corruption and Lies (1983), for example.”[5]

In the 2002 film 24 Hour Party People, which is based on Tony Wilson and the history of Factory Records, Saville is portrayed by actor Enzo Cilenti.[6] His reputation for missing deadlines[7] is comically highlighted in the film.

Saville grew in demand as a younger generation of people in advertising and fashion had grown up with his work for Factory Records. He reached a creative and a commercial peak with design consultancy clients such as Selfridges, EMI and Pringle. Other significant commissions came from the field of fashion. Saville’s fashion clients have included Jil Sander, Martine Sitbon, John Galliano, Yohji Yamamoto, Christian Dior and Stella McCartney. Saville often worked in collaboration with longtime friend, fashion photographer Nick Knight. The two launched an art and fashion website SHOWstudio in November 2000. Belgian fashion designer Raf Simons was granted full access to the archives of Saville’s vintage Factory projects and made a personal selection of Saville-designed works to integrate them into Raf Simon’s “Closer” Autumn/Winter 2003-4 collection.

In 2004, Saville became Creative Director of the city of Manchester, as a consultant.

In 2010, Saville designed the England football team home shirt.

Peter Saville designed a lot record labels in the 1980s. I could have included the image of the shirt designed for the England home team, but I thought that might be a little atypical…so I included this graphic of his, which, has a rather poignant and ironic statement. I like the boldness of it..and the clarity.

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